Next Generation Presidential Helo Takes First Test Flight - Southern Maryland Headline News

Next Generation Presidential Helo Takes First Test Flight


NAVAIR Patuxent River is Responsible for Delivering the Next Generation Presidential Helicopter

By CAPT Dean Peters, USN, VH-71 Government Flight Test Director


A test build of the next generation Presidential Helicopter, TV-2, in flight over Yeovil, England. the program is being managed by NAVAIR, Patuxent River, Md. Photo courtesy of AgustaWestland.

YEOVIL, UNITED KINGDOM (July 30, 2007) – Completing its first official test flight, the next presidential helicopter, the VH-71, creates another memorable experience for yet another Marine pilot as the journey begins for this aircraft's future operational employment by the United States Marine Corps (USMC).

Maj. Rich Marigliano, USMC, recently joined AgustaWestland test pilot Dick Trueman and Flight Test Engineers Clive Bowditch and Richard Parkes in performing the initial trials on the first true VH-71 test vehicle, TV-2, to come out of AgustaWestland’s Yeovil, England production facility, seven days after its maiden flight.


Maj. Rich Marigliano, USMC, recently joined AgustaWestland test pilot Dick Trueman and Flight Test Engineers Clive Bowditch and Richard Parkes in performing the initial trials on the first true VH-71 test vehicle, TV-2, to come out of AgustaWestland’s Yeovil, England production facility, seven days after its maiden flight. Photo left to right: Mr. Clive Bowditch, Mr. Dick Trueman, Major Rich Marigliano, USMC, Mr. Richard Parker. Photo courtesy of AgustaWestland.

“I have been with this program for over two years and it was great to see the efforts of so many different organizations coming together to start the official testing on TV-2. The aircraft flew great and the test team was able to collect a large set of data,” said Maj. Rich Marigliano, USMC, VH-71 test pilot and ITT Operations Officer. “I look forward to continuing to work with such a wide spectrum of professional pilots, engineers and managers from all the contributing organizations.”

With the completion of the acceptance test procedure the week prior, the test program for TV-2 began with approximately 40 flights and 800 test points. These initial test flights will establish the aircraft’s un-instrumented flight clearance and baseline avionics checkout.

The first phase of flight testing is complete and the aircraft is currently in a modification and instrumentation retrofit period that will last until mid-September.

Upon completion of the retrofit period, flight testing will continue for approximately four weeks prior to final preparations and shipment to Naval Air Systems Command (NAVAIR), Patuxent River, Md. in the late fall timeframe.

The VH-71 Integrated Test Team, formed to support the Presidential Helicopters Program Office, consists of government and industry personnel from Air Test and Evaluation Squadron TWO ONE, HX-21, Marine Helicopter Squadron One, HMX-1, Lockheed Martin Systems Integration - Owego, Bell Helicopter, and AgustaWestland.

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